If you had but one statement to make to this world before you passed from this earth WHAT WOULD IT BE?
As for me and my house, it would be THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, underscored IN HIS LOVE.
Here is a very important scripture. 2 Tim.4:6-8. In the words of Paul by the Holy Spirit:
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Hence forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
I say we can be "Raptured" at any time. Even NOW. (Personally, I hear in the near distance the hoof beats of the White Horse Rider of Rev. 6:1-2! )
Some say, even with malice and disdain for the brethren like me that He will arrive at the end of the Great Tribulation to save His church! Some say the middle and others not at all. This is not sound doctrine. It destroys the meaning of His promise of immediacy and the sure hope of our forefathers. It crushes the very attitude we must live in that Paul makes clear above: "...but them also that love his appearing".
Those all keep looking for Antichrist and the Great Tribulation to come and focus on current events to prove their misguided and self serving teachings. They gain many followers!
Do you see what the Spirit is saying to us through Paul? I know you do!
A crown from the Lord for we who live in His faith LOOKING FOR HIM DAILY and full of The Spirit in total commitment to Him. This is our sure hope! His coming for His church of called out ones.
I believe the best inference of Scripture is that the Rapture will occur before the beginning of the Tribulation. The most important reason I believe this has to do with the issue of imminence. Over and over in Scripture we are told to watch for the appearing of the Lord. We are told "to be ready" (Matt. 24:44), "to be on the alert" (Matt. 24:42), "to be dressed in readiness" (Luke 12:35), and to "keep your lamps alight" (Luke 12:35). The clear force of these persistent warnings is that Jesus can appear at any moment.
Only the pre-Tribulation concept of the Rapture allows for the imminence of the Lord's appearing for His Church. When the Rapture is placed at any other point in time, the imminence of the Lord's appearing is destroyed because other prophetic events must happen first.
For example, if the Rapture is going to occur in mid-Tribulation, then why should I live looking for the Lord's appearing at any moment? I would be looking instead for an Israeli peace treaty, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the revelation of the Antichrist. Then and only then could the Lord appear.
This raises the issue of what we are to be looking for. Nowhere are believers told to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. On the contrary, we are told to watch for Jesus Christ. In Titus 2:13 Paul says we are to live "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." Likewise, Peter urges us to "fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). John completes the apostolic chorus by similarly urging us to "fix our hope on Him" at His appearing (1 John 3:2-3).
And no matter when He comes, we do His word a great disservice, even His power and authority, to say He is coming at Tribulations end or in the middle.
Paul looked for Him 2000 years ago!!! Who says this looking started in the 18 century! The Devil made it up! Those who scoff at the pre-Tribulation Rapture in particular deride as the "escapist" mentality of holding to the Blessed Hope; however Jesus personally advised His disciples to pray that they would escape the Tribulation:
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36)
Life forever Jn.5:24-26; 17:24
Christ paid the price Acts 20:28; Heb.9:15,22
Going home Ps.23:6; Jn.14:1-3
Where our heart is Mt.6:19-21
Be ready Mt.25:1-13 (applies to Church as well as Israel in Tribulation)
Look up Mt.24:42; Lk.21:28 Listen Rev.3:20 (applies to Church as well as Israel in Tribulation)
He is the door Jn.10:7,9
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